Monday, May 15, 2017

Morethan, after Charles North's "The Nearness of the Way You Look Tonight."



One of the many pleasures of teaching a creative writing poetry class is that I get to do the writing exercises/prompts/activities alongside the students. In this assignment, I asked the students to create a poem modelled on Charles North's amazing "The Nearness of the Way You Look Tonight," where he assembles an amazing list of comparisons that are entirely and delightfully meaningless.

Smarter than morons are you
Shorter than giants

A student in the class asked me about endings. North's poem (like his comparisons) is deliberately antipoetic and anticlimatic. We talked about different ways to end a poem. With a big finish, a fade out, a twist, a turn, a reaching back to the first line or the title. Thinking about our discussion, as I wrote my realization of my North-derived poem, I turned the ending of the poem—after a listing of mostly ridiculous comparisons—into an occasion of sudden emotion. I also chained my comparisons, which North doesn't do, each comparison linking with the one before it. This, too, came from talking to my students about the poem and different ways to create cohesion, different formal ways to weave a poem together outside of narrative or other techniques.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

LitChat: Speaking with Many Tongues



Speaking with Many Tongues

What does it mean to write in more than one language? 
What does it mean to include other languages in your English writing? 
An invitation to discuss and share work.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Leacock Shortlist!



I'm very delighted that Yiddish for Pirates is now on the Leacock Medal for Humour shortlist, along with books by Amy Jones and Drew Hayden Taylor.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Two reviews of No TV for Woodpeckers




Very happy to have two reviews of my new collection, No TV for Woodpeckers this weekend.

Barb Carey at the Toronto Star wrote this lovely assessment.


And then Phillip Crymble  the Hamilton Review of Books wrote this thoughtful discussion of the book.

And check out the entire Hamilton Review of Books.  This second issue expands on the first issue—excellent essays, interviews and review.